In life, Elizabeth Adora Holland was known not only for her loveliness but also for her moral character, so it was fair to assume that in the afterlife she would occupy a lofty seat with an esepcially good view. If Elizabeth had looked down from that lovely perch one particular October morning on the proceeding of her own funeral, she would have been honoured to see that all of New York's best families had turned out to say goodbye.
I've seen a lot of reviews popping up on YA book blogs about this book, the first in The Luxe series by Anna Godbersen. One look at the cover and I knew I had to read it. This first book looks exactly like Gossip Girl would if it were set at the end of the 19th century.
The book opens in October 1899, with the funeral of Elizabeth Holland, an eighteen-year-girl belonging to one of the best families in town. The rest of the book is one long flash-back to the events leading up to Elizabeth's death in the Hudson River. Elizabeth and Diana Holland, the two daughters of the Holland family, learn that after the death of their father their family is deeply indebted. Elizabeth, who at least on the outisde is meek and oboedient, is forced in an engagement to New York's most eligible bachelor, Henry Shoonmaker, while she is secretly in love with the carriage boy, Will. Diana, on the other hand, is a free spirit, and secretly in love with Henry, who is not insensitive to her beauty.
Other characters include Penelope Hayes, Elizabeth's supposed best friend who would stop at nothing to conquer Henry for herself, and Lina, Elizabeth's maid, who is in love with Will. Love lies, scandals, hidden truths, romance, and love triangles all play a part in this engaging historical fiction YA book. I've read various reviewers complain that this book was too predictable, but I didn't think so - it held my interest throughout the whole novel.
I enjoyed this book very much, and I can't wait to get to the sequel called Rumours.